“I trust the architect on what will keep the building up, but not on what is beautiful.” – Stephen Barr
There was a point, when I was much younger, when I couldn’t get enough of debating. Any topic, any time – I was ready to jump in and argue. It was thrilling, it was a great mental exercise, and it taught me a very hollow lesson in what ‘victory’ was.
I thought you ‘won’ a debate, by having a clever counter-point to everything your opponent said, while also mercilessly burying them with your own eloquent tongue-lashings and truth bombs.
Years later, I cringe at the idea of debate…at least in a very popular ‘us vs. them’ forum. For an example, let’s look at the classic Atheist vs Theist debate format. In this trope, we see two champions – one of God, and one of Man. They shall engage in mighty verbal battle, and the winner shall convert all who are watching to their side, winning the day!
Umm…yeah. What really happens is each side throws out rings of circular logic, asks for unreasonable conclusive leaps, and ultimately tries to be the one who looks the coolest and says the most quip-y things, before time is up. Atheists tend to cheer for the Atheist, representative religious affiliates give all the glory to their debating candidate…oh yeah, and God. Everyone takes a moment to bask in the moment when they really stuck it to the other side.
What a stupid waste of energy.
Equally ludicrous – the illusion of Science vs. Religion. Once again, we find an example of how we are more alike than we are different…we just don’t know it. Both sides require extraordinary amounts of faith to be particularly devout to their cause – it’s just that the faith happens to look a bit different, like it’s wearing different clothes.
Once again, we circle back to one of my ‘favorite’ themes. Humans are stupid. We are creatures that are somehow both self-aware, and self-ignorant. We can look in a mirror and ask ‘Who am I?’ and shortly there after, we ask ‘Hey mirror-friend, let’s work together to screw over that guy across the street, and take his money’
What – you DON’T plot against the world, with the mirror (aka, one of many possible alternate realities?)
Ok, ok – more to the point – humans, especially in larger groups, thirst for power over each other. The more ‘organized’ you get, the more apparent this is. Within the frameworks of this lust for power, it becomes quickly apparent that you need to employ certain rallying calls, to make sure your community of followers knows what’s right…and more importantly, what to fear.
You want to know why there often seems to be a rift between science and religion? Because it was purposefully constructed. It’s hard to be congratulated for being ‘right’ if you aren’t pointing towards those that are ‘wrong’.
There is absolutely no reason, outside of made up human rules, that would cause science and religion to be antagonistically ‘against’ each other. That is a stupid construct that hurts us all, in so many different ways.
And let’s not stop here – the science vs religion argument is just one example of this increasingly violent need to separate ourselves from that which we just KNOW is bad/wrong. Whether it’s found in classrooms, neighborhoods, politics…anywhere – just open your eyes and examine how quickly we turn on each other.
Do you have any personal feelings about Donald Trump? How do you feel when someone your chatting with unveils they feel the exact opposite as you on this topic? Rage? Disgust? Pity? Rage, again?
I’m not trying to say that all things are equally good/bad, and that no one should ever disagree with each other. What I am saying is that ‘you’ are not ‘less-than’ ‘me’ – regardless of what religious affiliation you belong to, what political party you support, or what pizza is your favorite.
I used to debate…now I yearn for conversation. I don’t try to ‘catch’ anyone, or corner them on some unanswerable ledge of a question. I want them to unveil who they are, and why. Let’s get to understand each other, loathsome humans though we are, and see where all of our collective beliefs shake out, once we have learned to see through the eyes of our brothers and sisters.
I’m the sensical turtle, and I know we can learn from each other, no matter how dumb we are.